Sceletium or Kanna is one of the most traditional herb used for mind-alteration, also known as Sceletium Tortuosum. It is thought to have a profound impact on how human consciousness has evolved. It is naturally available and commonly consumed as a mood booster.
What is Kanna (Sceletium) and where has it originated?
Sceletium is a succulent shrub belonging to the ice plant family. The San and Khoi people from South Africa are known to have used Sceletium to subdue their hunger and thirst in tincture form. Besides, it was also used to relieve pain and elevate their mood. Pastoralists and hunter-gatherers also used the plant for mood alteration during prehistoric times. Jan van Riebeeck is known to have written the oldest account of its usage in the year 1662.
A fermented and dried preparation of Sceletium is known as Kanna or Kougoed. It means chewy things or something to chew, and it has been utilized as a very safe and advantageous inebriant since the prehistoric times. Kanna is chewed, prepared into tea and even smoked or snuffed sometimes.
What are the uses/benefits of the Kanna (Sceletium)?
Kanna is truly a natural wealth and a botanical marvel. It is a wonderful herb facilitating bodily and mental relaxation. Obsessive thinkers can benefit a lot through Sceletium as it calms down the thought process and enables expression of thought, speech and emotion. All in all, it is a great healer.
Sceletium stimulates the function of serotonin in the brain far better than L-Tryptophan, 5-Hydroxytryptophan, and Griffonia. What makes it superior to these agents is that it does not lead to drowsiness commonly experienced while using the precursors of serotonin.
All the medicines available to fight depression are either Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors or Serotonin-Dopamine Re-uptake Inhibitors. They work by developing serotonin in the brain, but it leads to unwanted side effects.
The pharmacological action of Sceletium is as a Serotonin Releasing Agent combined with a bit of SSRI activity. The main advantage is that it does not have any unpleasant side effects that are seen with other anti-depressants available in pharmacy stores.
As an anxiolytic, Sceletium works really well. Sceletium slows down the hyperactivity of the mind and an abnormally active autonomic nervous system. If you suffer from problems like overthinking and anxiety, Sceletium is perfect for you.
Anxiety is closely associated with social phobia. For people who find it tough to communicate, Sceletium can prove to be especially useful. The herb makes it all the more enjoyable for people to socialize. It proves to be a lot more than just a placebo.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can also be treated with the help of Sceletium. It is found to be immensely productive for the same. It enables the perfect coordination between the mind, body, and heart, thereby leading to a non-obsessive and non-compulsive state.
How does Kanna work?
Kanna consists of four main components, namely Mesembrine, Mesembrenone, Mesembrenol and Mesembranol. The major alkaloids are Mesembrine, and Mesembrenone. The former works as an effective Serotonin Uptake Inhibitor while the latter works as both Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor and PDE4 inhibitor. These chemicals undergo reactions with serotonin and dopamine receptors present in the brain. It is assumed that this activity pertaining to the specific receptors like nicotinic, dopamine, and noradrenaline is responsible for the euphoric effect.
What are the Kanna (Sceletium) side effects?
It is still somewhat unclear whether Kanna is safe to use. It has been reported to cause headaches, loss of appetite and depressed mental state. People also tend to get intoxicated on using it in excess quantities or not letting it stand after fermentation. Some patients also experience soft stool, temporary feeling of anxiousness after treatment initiation and insomnia. It can also lead to sedation that can be corrected if you take medicine at night in a single dose of 50 mg.
There is hardly any literature on its usage in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Due to the scarcity of resources, it is best not to use it. After all, it is better to be a safe rather than sorry.
How to use Kanna (Sceletium)?
Kanna is generally taken after breakfast and lunch once or twice daily in the dosage of 50 mg or 100 mg. For some patients, it can also be used 100 mg twice per day. For drug rehabilitation, patients can take it up to 200 mg per day under the strict supervision of a physician or psychiatrist. An important point to have in mind here is that it should be taken in a lighter dose at the outset so that there are no side effects.
Is it legal to use?
Kanna can be legally bought, possessed, cultivated and distributed even if you do not have a license or prescription as it is not a controlled substance in any country. This is true for parts of the plants as well as the extracts. However, there may be specific rules in different countries for its use of a drug or supplement.
Users experience of Kanna (Sceletium)
I was a happy go lucky kind of a guy until I failed in my first-year college examination. Anxiety, depression and all sorts of negative vibes took over me. Life became a burden. I could not understand who to turn to and what to do. Amidst all the chaos of life, I came across Kanna on Drugs-Forum.
I thought to give it a try according to the dosage specified. I had not expected it to work, but to my sheer surprise, it worked great to treat my anxiety and restlessness.
I felt calm and composed enough to concentrate on my studies. It helped me to score well in my next exam and prove myself. Had it not been for Sceletium, I guess my life would still have been sad and desperate.